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Updated by Charles Bystock on 10/08/2013

IT outsourcing brokerOutsourcing has value only if it enhances your ability to achieve overall business goals and positions your company to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities while remaining undeterred by a volatile global business environment. That’s a tall order. An IT outsourcing broker can help you turn overwhelming complexity into a manageable process tailored specifically for your company.  

That’s particularly important, because any decisions you make about outsourcing IT functions will affect your entire enterprise, not just your IT department. Investing time up front and getting assistance from sourcing experts will ensure you explore all the alternatives and make the strongest decisions to secure your company’s future.

An IT outsourcing broker has a lot to offer. But how can you engage with them so that you get most value for your enterprise?

Choose the right one.

Sourcing advisors are all different, even if they offer similar services. Like any working partnership, you’re looking for the right fit – a combination of professional expertise and personal relationship. Firm size is irrelevant. It’s proven high-level experience managing IT environments like yours that ensures your broker can help you avoid decision-making omissions or failures and seize all the opportunities.

The right broker will be flexible in how they work with you but will create a timeline to complete your advisory project. You’ll save time overall, without sacrificing quality in your decision-making process.

Meet with them in person before making a selection. You wouldn’t hire anyone else based solely on their resume, and establishing a compatible working relationship with your advisors will assure the best results.

And inquire about how they price their services. You’re making an investment in your broker, and you want to get the best return on your investment.

Make good use of their time.

You should expect only the best from an IT outsourcing broker and the outcomes of their work with you, but what does that mean? You both must have a clear understanding of your company’s expectations, so define the goals of your working relationship and establish objective benchmarks.

Most likely you want to:

  • Reduce costs. How much do you expect to reduce them, and within what timeframe?
  • Increase the range of resources available to you – functions, staffing, etc. However you define “resource,” you have to define success using performance objectives. For instance, if you expect to gain IT expertise, what skills are you missing now? Or if you want to be more efficient, how can you quantify that?

For many companies, achieving clarity about IT expectations is a tough task in itself. Your IT outsourcing broker can help conduct a comprehensive internal assessment to fully understand your current situation, costs, gaps and opportunities. Based on that, they’ll be able to explain specifically how they can help you achieve your goals.

Heed their advice.

You’re paying for their assistance, so listen closely to what they have to say. Use their tools and resources -- including their own expertise – to study your options within the IT marketplace. Their outside perspective will ensure your investigation is thorough and help protect your interests as you evaluate various options.

Their “inside” understanding of your company’s unique circumstances will ensure your investigation is data-driven, including focus on true total cost of ownership as you compare potential choices, but also that you consider relevant internal cultural issues or other intangibles. And they can help you plan a transition that’s as painless as possible.

Hiring an IT outsourcing broker isn’t an off-the-shelf purchase, it’s a teamwork undertaking. So what you get out of your experience will be commensurate with what you invest. Clarity and communication are the keys to success. Pick the right team, then let them use their expertise to guide you toward valuable, cost-effective solutions and providers. 

Photo credit: Limeydal via Wikimedia Commons